For many couples, marriage is an exciting opportunity to deepen your bond, establish a life together, become parents… and catch some legal breaks?! Believe it or not, marriage brings both happiness and legal benefits. Todd A. Spodek, divorce lawyer and managing partner of the Spodek Law Group, outlined some basic legal rights married couples enjoy.
1. State Tax Benefits: Contrary to popular belief, married couples are able to use their marital status to save money on taxes. According to Spodek, wedded people can file joint state tax returns, take spousal deductions on state income taxes, exclude employer contributions for spousal health insurance from taxable income for state taxes, exempt property inherited from spouses from state estate tax, and receive tax benefits when transferring interests in property. Whew!
2. Insurance Benefits: One of the biggest legal blessings of marriage is the advantage it provides for couples’ health insurance. Generally speaking, if one spouse receives health insurance through their workplace, their partner can be added to their policy.
3. Healthcare and Family Leave: “Spouses enjoy special rights to make decisions related to emergency medical care for each other and to visit a spouse who is ill,” Spodek says. “Working spouses will also be entitled to family medical leave and bereavement leave.”
4. Inheritance, Property Ownership, and Transfer Rights: According to Spodek, many laws make it easier for spouses to transfer property to each other or own it jointly.
5. Parental Rights: This benefit is plain and simple: If you and your spouse have children, you both have all the legal rights given to parents. In general, these rights have to do with the decisions you’re allowed to make on behalf of your little ones — things such as healthcare, education, and religion are in your hands as long as your kids are in your custody.
6. Workers’ Compensation and Wrongful Death Claims: “Spouses may receive workers’ compensation benefits if a spouse dies in the workplace, and they may bring a wrongful death lawsuit and related civil claims that are dependent on marital status,” Spodek explains.
7. Cemetery Plots: You might not think about it (or want to think about it), but getting married actually gives you rights when it comes to the burial place of your spouse. After saying “I do,” you have the “right to possession, care, control, and succession to ownership of, and right of interment in, a public cemetery plot,” Spodek tells us. Basically, this means the place your spouse is buried technically belongs to you.
8. Spousal Privilege: In a legal proceeding, you have the right to private discussion with your spouse. Essentially, you can excuse yourself from, say, testifying at a trial, to have a chat with your spouse about legal matters if necessary. Your conversation is protected by law!
9. Family Law: “Spouses may utilize state and local judicial forums in proceedings relating to separation, divorce, orders of protection, and the care of any children of the couple,” Spodek says. These matters all fall under the umbrella of family law.
Did you know about these legal benefits of marriage? Let us know @BritandCo!
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